Guyana Elections: GECOM sets aside 10 district declarations; orders CEO to use recount data

 — CEO Lowenfield must submit his report by 2 PM Tuesday July 14, 2020

Posted by: Denis Chabrol–  Demerara Waves –  July 13, 2020

The Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh on Monday set aside the 10 district declarations and ordered that Chief Elections Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield a third time to submit a report using figures from the national vote recount- the only figures now available.

GECOM spokeswoman, Yolanda Ward confirmed that this decision was made, although two pro-coalition Election Commissioners did not say so definitively.

If  Mr. Lowenfield again refuses to use the recount data and submit his report by 2 PM Tuesday, the Chairman has reportedly also decided that the Deputy Chief Elections Officer, Roxanne Myers to use the recount data to compile the report for the seven-member commission to consider and declare a winner.

“I am not in agreement with her instructions but those are her instructions and her instructions are buttressed by the support of three commissioners,” Alexander told reporters even as he insisted that the 10 declarations have to do with “strict law.” “The ten declarations have not been contested,” he said. Alexander conceded that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) did not issue an order to scrap the Recount Order.

In light of the Chief Elections Officer refusal twice to comply with her request to use the recount data, Mr. Gunraj said the role of the Chief Elections Officer is not higher than that of the Commission and “as a consequence the commission is not subservient to the CEO.” “She reminded the CEO has the responsibilities, answerable to and as a consequence mist follow the dictates of the Commission,” he said.

Unofficially, the recount data show that of the 460,352 valid votes cast, the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has won 217,920 and the People’s Progressive Party 233,336. The three ‘joinder’ parties- A New and United Guyana (ANUG), Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) and The New Movement (TNM) got a total of 5,214‬ votes.

Mr. Gunraj said the GECOM Chairman stated that the Guyana Court of Appeal did not set aside Order 60 whatsoever.

Guyana’s constitution prohibits decisions by the Elections Commission from being enquired into by any court. That is with the exception of an election petition to the High Court to challenge the declared results.

Already, the regional court states in its judgement that “It is after such invalid votes are weeded out that the remaining “valid votes” count towards a determination of not only the members of the National Assembly but, incidentally as well, the various listed Presidential candidates. If the integrity of a ballot, or the manner in which a vote was procured, is questioned beyond this validation exercise, say because of some fundamental irregularity such as those alleged by Mr (Joseph) Harmon, then that would be a matter that must be pursued through Article 163 after the elections have been concluded.”

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  • guyaneseonline  On July 13, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    CEO Lowenfield maintains he has abided by the law

    —ordered to present report based on recount figures

    DPI, Guyana, Monday, July 13, 2020

    Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Keith Lowenfield today maintained that he has been acting within the confines of the law and that his elections report reflects the edicts of Guyana’s Constitution.

    The CEO was part of a Commission meeting this afternoon where his final report submitted on Saturday was under deliberation.

    That report showed that some 475,118 valid votes were cast in the March 2, 2020, General and Regional elections, with the incumbent APNU+AFC acquiring 236,777, while the PPP followed with 229, 330 votes.

    But that report was rejected by the Chair and opposition Commissioners and saw Justice Singh making another order that the CEO presents another report by 14:30 hours on Tuesday reflecting numbers emanating from the National Vote Recount.

    The CEO has been maintaining that the Chair’s request flies in the face of the recent Judgement of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) which ruled on July 1, that Order 60 of 2020 or the National Recount Order could not be used to create a “new regime” for Guyana’s General Elections when there exist Article 177 of the Constitution and Section 96 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA).

    In a letter seeking guidance from the Chair on Friday, the CEO stated that the CCJ has endorsed the view that GECOM cannot determine credibility.

    He said it, therefore, holds that Order 60 of 2020 cannot be executed in its entirety. As a result, “a final credible count as conceived by the commission and expressed in the Order cannot be attained.”

    Up until today, Justice Singh has not provided the guidance sought by the CEO but has for the third time, directed that he submits a report on the very Order that was disregarded by the CCJ.

    Commissioner Vincent Alexander told journalists today that he is not in agreement with the Chair, who also told the CEO that should he fail to present the report requested, the task will be delegated to his deputy.

    “In a judge-like manner, the Chairman reverted to the 16 of June and has once again instructed the CEO to prepare a report in keeping with the results of the recount. She simply gave a ruling in a judge-like manner as to what should happen hereafter,” Alexander told reporters outside GECOM this afternoon.

    He reminded that the CCJ has pronounced on the illegality of the national vote recount. The 33-day exercise was undertaken by the elections commission in May to determine the credibility of the March 2 elections. Though massive incidences of fraud were uncovered, and a report of the same was submitted to the Commission, the CEO was asked to submit his report with figures including fraudulent votes.

    Commissioner Alexander has opined that the commission should have a non-declaration because of the massive fraud affecting over 200,000 votes.

    “My own disposition is that if we are in fact to assuage the contesting parties, then the best option for us is a non-declaration. The fact that it is argued that we can use the declarations of the ten regions as to do with strict laws. If we are to look at strict law, the ten declarations have not been contested.”

    The commission will meet again tomorrow. …Tuesday June 14, 2020.

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